Hmong girl with umbrella Hula hooping at The Big Green Arbutus Park Galynne Goodwill at The Big Green 2012 Chris Aaron at the Big Green Josh Harty at the Big Green 2012 Kid Drawing at The Big Green 2012 photo by Adam Z Ifdakar at The Big Green 2012 photo by Adam Z CRT Stations at The Big Green 2012 photo by Adam Z The Big Green 2012 photo by Adam Z St. Therese Community Garden

Latest News

Neighborhood Partners hosts the Historic Central Neighborhood Garden Tour

Everyone welcome to the Historic Central Neighborhood Garden Tour.  Real people with real gardens.   We’re learning from each other!

Saturday, August 9th  9:30-11:30am

See the attached garden tour brochure and map.  First hour visiting home gardens throughout the neighborhood.  Second hour at the St. Therese Community Garden (Summer St. between Morrison & Drew) for garden plot tours and refreshments.




Artists open up and say W.O.W.

Even W.O.W.'s meeting agendas are artsy!

Even W.O.W.’s meeting agendas are artsy!

A Wisdom of Wombats is the brainchild of a few neighbors in Appleton who wondered one day: Could there be a way to make their artistic pursuits better and bigger? Their answer: Collaborate.

In one room a dancer, a sculptor, a musician, a painter, a poet, an up-cycler, a photographer — artists of all kinds and all levels and all pursuits — coming together to talk, share, grow, and inspire art in one another and throughout the community.

W.O.W. This could have a crazy impact on the art world.

Their first official meeting was Jan. 26, and there’s an interactive Pop-Up Gallery already in the works for Spring (think flash mob of art). Get the date by liking them on Facebook — A Wisdom of Wombats — and get your art ready!

Joanna Dane, one of the founding wombats, described how the Pop-Up Gallery will encourage artists across all genres to show their art, experiment with different art forms, and draw the creative energy to make more art.

W.O.W.’s next meeting is at 3 p.m., Mar. 9, at 516 E. Pacific St. All artists are invited (please confirm the date and time on Facebook).

Side-effects of such powerful collaboration include:

  • Happier, healthier people
  • Stronger communities
  • Personal empowerment

Did you go to Facebook yet? There’s a wealth of goodness springing up — post your work, link to your website or blog, connect with other artists, and feast on all the delights:

Sustainable Fox Valley applauds W.O.W.’s efforts. We want to share more stories about the amazing things that can happen when community members come together, create a vision for what is possible, and organize themselves to make it happen. Please e-mail any suggestions to

Sponsors, Volunteers Chair sought for The Big Green

As Spring nears, planning for The Big Green is gaining momentum — and we need your help today!

Sponsorship opportunities available now

The Sponsorships Team is reaching out to local businesses, those who offer sustainable products, and those who support sustainability awareness, initiatives and action — everyone they can find who qualifies as a sponsor for The Big Green.

The Big Green

Ifdakar Jams at The Big Green

Who do you know? Please let us know! This is a valuable opportunity for business owners who want to reach a broad audience of customers interested in sustainability.

Using social and traditional media, we’ll showcase our sponsors as the drivers behind the growing choices people have when it comes to living more sustainable lives. Send your recommendations to Sarah Lauer, Event Chairperson,

Complete sponsorship information also is available at

One more leader needed

Hosted entirely by volunteers, The Big Green is one way SFV exemplifies how each of us has the power to create a vision and organize with others to bring that vision to life. We need one more leader to serve in the effort as the Volunteers Chairperson.

This role focuses on coordinating all volunteer activities for the evening before, day of, and day after the event.

If you can manage a group of 30-50 volunteers providing boots-on-the-ground support for The Big Green, we need to hear from you.

Yes, it’s work — up to 10 hours a week at crunch time — but it’s fun, rewarding work, and there are lots of people who’ll help!

Come be a pioneer in the great transition to a sustainable future. Learn more about the opportunities with The Big Green by e-mailing for details today. There’s room for everyone!

Board-member profile: Jamie Rosenberg

Jamie Rosenberg

Jamie Rosenberg

Born in Upstate New York and raised in Minneapolis, SFV Board Member Jamie Rosenberg is proud to call Appleton home.

He and his wife, Althea, enjoy being good stewards of their historic home, their neighborhood, and the broader community.

“It is what you make it,” Jamie said.

He’s doing what he can to make it good. Friends with his neighbors, active in his neighborhood association, and serving on the SFV board are all ways Jamie exemplifies the value he places on community.

The Voice, which is the name of the neighborhood association where he lives, started in 2006. Since then, crime abated, neighbors reclaimed Arbutus Park and hold three events there each summer, landlords found good reasons to maintain rental properties, and, most recently, a community garden was established at St. Therese Parish.

With so many successes in his neighborhood, Jamie’s leadership drew the attention of Neighborhood Project Coordinator Julie Filapek, and she recommended Jamie to the SFV board.

“I jumped at the chance,” Jamie said. “Sustainable Fox Valley fills a strong need in its ability to work in the strategic overlap. By facilitating partnerships, we can pick up where missions from other organizations end.”

As fate would have it, Jamie came to the SFV board as members were discussing refining the organization’s strategic plan. With a professional background in strategic planning, he currently is leading the board’s effort to ensure SFV is, itself, sustainable.

Finding the time to be proactive, organize projects with others, and give back to the community can be challenging. But, as Jamie experiences every day, making the time is rewarding.

“It’s at the grassroots level that we create community, economic security, and environmental sustainability,” he said.

We’ll bring you more board-member profiles in the future, so you can know not only what SFV is doing and why, but who is behind the leadership decisions the organization is making.

A little collaboration goes a long way

St. Therese Community Garden

Volunteers Working Together

Neighborhood Partners is a new collaboration that brings resources to bear on a neighbor-to-neighbor approach to community development and sustainability.

The pilot neighborhood is located just north of downtown Appleton, anchored by Columbus Elementary School and Arbutus Park. In its first year, neighbors in this area will take on sustainability projects that include:

  • Renovating the Columbus School playground for increased green space
  • Addressing erosion problems on the Arbutus Park ravine sides
  • Improving residential energy efficiency and water conservation
  • Establishing a community garden with St. Therese Parish
  • Creating community around gardening and food
  • Providing opportunities for local youth to become neighborhood stewards

These projects are the manifestations, in this pilot neighborhood, of a community development model that prioritizes the identification and connection of neighborhood assets to create a sustainable, high quality of life – socially, economically and environmentally.

Neighborhood Partners will assist neighbors in identifying assets, connecting with one another, establishing a common vision, working to achieve their goals, and measuring their success against baseline community indicators.

St. Therese Community Garden

Julie Filapek at the St. Therese Parish

The initiative is rooted in the awareness that our neighborhoods are filled with the knowledge, skills, and commitment of people who, when brought together, will produce a better quality of life for all.

Initial funding came from the Community Foundation for the Fox Valley Region’s Environmental Sustainability Committee.

Founding collaborators include Sustainable Fox Valley, Greater Fox Cities Area Habitat for Humanity, East Central Wisconsin Regional Planning Commission, Community Garden Partnership of Goodwill Industries of North Central Wisconsin, City of Appleton, and a growing number of other nonprofits, businesses, and government entities.

Many thanks to all for recognizing the heartbeat of sustainability lies in our neighborhoods.

We are seeking additional funding to bring more neighborhood projects to fruition, and ultimately offer support in urban neighborhoods and rural communities throughout the Fox Valley region.

For more information, please contact Julie Filapek, project coordinator, at (920) 217-8744 or

photos by Stephenie Penterman

Organizing begins for The Big Green 2014

the Big Green

Hula hooping at the Big Green

Mark your calendar for Saturday, Aug. 16, 2014 for the 3rd Annual Big Green Sustainable Music Festival.

Come help plan the party! Bring your friends, too! Find us on Facebook!

Numerous volunteers from last year’s event are returning to help spread the message that healthy, fun, thriving — sustainable — communities start with us. Our heartfelt thanks for their inspiring accomplishments in 2013:

the Big Green

Chris Aaron at the Big Green

  • More than 800 people attended
  • Only slightly more than half an ounce of waste per attendee went to the landfill
  • A great time was had by all

Thanks, too, to The Community Foundation of the Fox Valley Region and all our sponsors, vendors and exhibitors for sharing the vision of a sustainable future.

As The Big Green grows to become one of SFV’s main fundraisers, we are working tirelessly to create opportunities that offer our volunteers a truly exceptional experience. Please spread the word — from leaders to heavy lifters, all help is welcome.

photos by Adam Z Anderson

Strategic planning ahead

The Sustainable Fox Valley Board of Directors is solidifying the organization’s strategic plan to ensure SFV provides maximum benefit to the residents of our region.

“Going through a formal strategic planning process will allow SFV to hone in on those areas where we can best inspire and support community members who want to take action to improve their neighborhoods and quality of life,” SFV Board Chair Leslie Taylor said.

Volunteers have begun meeting to lay out a timetable and identify participants, with an eye on a lively planning session in late January.

“Having a plan laid out this way will provide us with a measuring stick to tell us where we are and will be needed, how well we’re performing, and what we can do to remain an invigorated community resource,” board member Jamie Rosenberg said.

Creating sustainable communities is pioneering work. You’re invited to participate in this process and any/all SFV activities.

Express your interest by e-mailing Leslie at

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